CdM opens with edge

Sea Kings defeat San Juan Hills, 43-35, in season opener, will square off against Costa Mesa tonight.

November 29, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
  • [CDM's Sam Coffman, 11, drives the basket for easy lay-up after a San Juan Hills turnover.] *** []
[CDM's Sam Coffman, 11, drives the basket for easy… (DON LEACH, unknown )

CORONA DEL MAR — Coach Mark Decker is sporting a new beard at Corona del Mar High. The facial hair is a tribute to his father, Ron, who passed away recently.

Fans understood why Decker scratched his beard rather than his head a handful of times on Monday night. His girls' basketball team tipped off the season against a team it usually beats easily.

San Juan Hills gave the Sea Kings a contest in the opening round of the CdM Tip-Off Tournament.

The Sea Kings used a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to get past a former Pacific Coast League opponent, 43-35, and advance to the quarterfinals of the 16-team tournament.

The tournament is in its third year and CdM has reached the championship game every year. Decker believes the Sea Kings have to work on some things before making a run this year.

"I don't even want to know," Decker said of his team's 44.4 free-throw-shooting percentage. "They fouled us a lot and we didn't take advantage."


San Juan Hills kept the game close for much of the 32 minutes. The Stallions even took a 23-19 lead at halftime.

Any San Juan Hills advantage against CdM was unheard of last year.

"To look back at last year, our team lost to this same squad, 59-10," San Juan Hills Coach Cat Nolan said. "We've come a long way in a year."

This is the first year San Juan Hills has seniors on the team. The Stallions challenged the smaller Sea Kings.

Size is no longer CdM's strength. The 5-foot-11 Katie Bergsma and 6-1 Caroline van der Velde are no longer on the team. The Sea Kings plan to rely heavily on their outside shooting for points.

Ellie Nadal provided the scoring threat for CdM, finishing with a game-high 17 points. She knocked down three three-pointers, including one during a 7-0 run that gave CdM a 39-33 lead with three minutes left to play.

Nolan called a timeout, hoping to end the Sea Kings' momentum. She called it from her seat after an official gave her a technical foul midway through the third quarter.

The official joked with her after Nolan asked for a timeout.

"You may stand up to request a timeout," the official said after he informed Nolan earlier that she lost her standing privileges on the sideline with the technical foul.

"It's my first [technical] in my life, my whole career," said Nolan, who has been a coach for 10 years.

Decker smiled. He was happy to escape the first round with a victory after his team converted only 12 of 27 free-throw attempts.

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